Meet Ross Cromartie, Partner and President at RBA

What is your background?

If we’re being honest I definitely didn’t start out with a plan to build an agency. I actually started my career in private equity with a concentration in commercial real estate.

I got to do a lot of different things in that world, but my role really boiled down to three main things: 1) finding opportunities, 2) proving their value, and 3) repositioning those opportunities to maximize their value.

While I really enjoyed finding opportunities and proving their value, I learned that my biggest contributions came when it was time to position and market our investments. Instead of checking my work, the company leaders were excited to lean on my youth and leverage my perspective.

I realized that not only was marketing and advertising something I really enjoyed, it was something I was pretty good at. I decided to quit the cushy job to start my own company, and have never looked back since.

What drew you to a career in marketing and advertising?

I have always loved making fun of commercials, and since I was a kid I’ve been saying “I could do better”. Now that I finally have the chance to put my money where my mouth is, I know how hard it really is! I love learning about people’s businesses, how they work, and how to tell stories that help other people connect with them. For me, branding & advertising focuses on the most fun aspects of business – growing, connecting with customers, and creating things that are seriously awesome.

What’s your favorite part about working at RocketBrand?

I love my job. Being able to see the fruits of our labor come to life every day is awesome. I love creating results. We take an idea and make it into something valuable – that’s like creating gold out of thin air. It is amazing to be part of something that is truly creative. But honestly the best part by far is the people. I get to work with some incredibly passionate and talented people, and I get to see them do these amazing things every day.

What do you do outside of work?

I am lucky enough to be married to an incredible lady and we are both parents to a certified fur-baby named Loki who is a pretty high maintenance puppy (and worth all the effort).

I’m kinda obsessed with martial arts. I started off in wrestling (high school and college), and got into boxing/kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after college, then finally got into the traditional arts (think Kung Fu), which in my opinion is where the real good stuff is. I’m a practitioner in a few different martial arts styles and a certified Instructor in Shaolin Tai Chi Chuan. My friends have finally gotten used to the assortment of swords, sticks, and nunchucks scattered around me at all times. And I stretch a lot.

I love video games, especially strategy games and wargames that are extremely boring to most people. To my wife it looks like I’m just staring at a map most of the time. So yea, I’m a pretty huge nerd.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

The best trip I ever got to take was the ~8 months I spent living in Costa Rica. I got to learn the language, immerse in the culture, and backpack all over the country. It was amazing, incredible beaches, cool discoveries, and lots and lots of Guarro (which is basically Costa Rica’s horrible version of tequila).

It’s tough to pin down my favorite spot, honestly traveling around the country was half the fun. It might be cheating but my favorite spot would actually be just south of the Costa Rican border in Panama – a little island chain called Bocas Del Toro. I’ll never forget taking the water taxi there – just imagine 15 tourists with luggage crammed into a tiny boat that’s bobbing about a quarter inch above the water line, blasting at full speed through the Panamanian jungle in the middle of nowhere. And yea that water definitely has a ton of cocodrilos. Truly a unique experience.

Whats your guilty pleasure movie or show?

Movie – Mean Girls

TV – South Park

Best Dallas BBQ?

Pecan Lodge

What music are you currently listening to?

Leon Bridges, Charles Bradley

What inspires you?

Good people doing great things.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into Marketing and Advertising?

It is not a soft sport. Creativity is hard, and professional creativity is one of the most emotionally demanding jobs you can find. If you’re thinking about being a professional creative, make sure you have really thick skin. People are going to crap all over things you put you heart into, and you have to just shake it off and try to hit another home run. In this business, it’s not the most creative people who succeed. It’s the creative people who listen the best, and who can endure the most who succeed.